Thursday, December 6, 2012

Beginning Reader Book Review: Secret Santa

Secret Santa

Secret Santa
Written by:  Margaret McNamara
Illustrated by:  Mike Gordon
Published by: Simon Spotlight, 2012

* The Robin Hill School is a series written by Margaret McNamara that follows a class of first graders.  It's great for beginning readers and geared towards children ages 4-6.  My four year old son has really taken off with his reading and this series is perfect for him.  Secret Santa was our first read of the series together.

 In this story Katie wears a Christmas sweater to school and her classmate Andrew makes fun of it, calling her "Rudolph Raccoon."  Later, when the students pick names out of the hat for their Secret Santas, of course she picks Andrew.  She doesn't want to give him a present though because he was mean to her.  Eventually she has a change of heart.....but is it too late? 

The story line isn't new.  We've read a children's book in the past along the same lines where one classmate is mean to another and the classmate doesn't want to give the mean classmate a Valentine.  However, for first graders, this is something that they can relate to ( be young again!). 

My son, named Connor, was embarrassed to read the teacher's name, Mrs. Connor.  He didn't explain why he wouldn't read it, he just got shy and told me to read her name.  I'm not sure if it's because the teacher is a woman and he didn't realize Connor was her last name. 

We will definitely be reading more of the Robin Hill School series.  This was an enjoyable holiday related book that my 4 year old son could read to me.

This book was borrowed from the library.

Family Rating: 1 1/2 thumbs up.

This book was shared at:

Kid Lit Blog Hop


  1. Thanks for the review. I'm always on the hunt for new christmas books for my sons. :) Visiting from the blog hop!

  2. This sounds like a great book for beginners. Have to say that the lesson taught is so important, it bears being presented in several different ways. Thanks for sharing. Cheryl co-host

  3. How interesting about your son Connor! They can be so sensitive and self-conscious at that age.

    This book does seem to teach kids a valuable lesson. In the early grades, there really is a sharp learning curve around negotiating relationships. Forget learning to read and write! That's easy compared to learning social skills! lol

    Thanks for sharing your post in the Kid Lit Blog Hop. I'm excited to have found your blog. Welcome to the Blogosphere - it looks like your blog is relatively new. I'm your first GFC follower! woot woot! And, I'm followingn you by email. Have a wonderful weekend! :D

  4. Very sweet! He'll look back at that some day and have no idea himself why he wouldn't read it :)

    Thanks for linking into the Kid Lit Blog Hop! I've followed you via email. I don't have the GFC thing, but let me know if you decide to get on Twitter or Facebook. Have a great Christmas!

  5. So what brings about the change of heart? I guess I'll have to look for the book. I've been curious recently about different books on bullying, and on mean kids, because the question of how to deal with them still stumps me at times.

    1. Well, Katie has a "change of heart" and in the end so did Andrew so this book doesn't really deal with the issue of bullying. I have heard about Have You Filled a Bucket Today? and The Ant Bully but have not read them, so they may be worth checking out. I also found this list that you may find helpful:

      Thanks for stopping by!